“The motoring public often has a cavalier attitude toward smoking pot and driving,” said Kara Macek, GHSA’s senior director of communications and programs.
“While it might not impair in the same way that alcohol does, it certainly impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.”
Forty-three percent of fatally-injured drivers with a known test result tested positively for drugs, according to the GHSA report. Findings were based on the most recent data available, which is from 2015.
“Whether it’s prescription, over-the-counter, legal or illegal — any drug can impair,” Macek said. “When it says ‘do not operate heavy machinery,’ it really means ‘don’t drive a car.'”
She said state laws covering drug-impaired driving and pot vary widely since “there’s no real easy way to measure impairment like blood alcohol concentration.”
“We’d like to see scientific evidence that could figure out a clear threshold for pot,” she added.
Law enforcement officials often don’t have the tools, or resources, or training necessary to fight the problem, according to Macek.
“It’s really a finely-tuned skill that law enforcement need to be able to go out and detect these drivers and arrest them at the scene,” she said.